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Freelancer Mission 5


Juni: Trent! This is Juni. I finally found a lead that might help us find Professor Quintaine. Meet me on Cambridge. I’ll be waiting for you in the bar.
Planet Cambridge Bar
Trent: Hey.
Juni: I was wondering when you’d show.
Trent: Did you find Quintaine?
Juni: That’s the thing. The good doctor has disappeared.
Trent: You mean like the others?
Juni: No. Not like them. This one left a trail. But I’m gonna need your help, Trent. Are you with me?
Trent: That’s why I’m here. Count me in!
Juni: Good! What do you know about Xeno-Archeology?
Trent: Not much. Why?
Juni: Just let me do the talking and whatever you do, keep that artefact out of sight. I don’t want a repeat performance of Manhattan.
Trent: Ugh, anything else?
Juni: Yeah. Bring the bottle.
Trent, Juni and Vance
Juni: Very nice of you to see us on such short notice, Mr Vance.
Vance: When you said in your message that you and Doctor Trent were from the Hammer Research Institute in Liberty, I could hardly refuse.
Trent: Doctor?
Vance: It’s not entirely unusual for Doctor Quintaine to miss an appointment now and then – even one regarding funding.
Juni: We understand. We’d made it quite a while ago. I’m just pleased the university put me in touch with you.
Vance: I do a lot of work for Doctor Quintaine – shuttling people and equipment back and forth to his research sites. I’m sorry, usually I can find him, but not today.
Trent: You mean you don’t know where he is? He doesn’t know where he is! Ouch!
Vance: Oh, he hasn’t been around for weeks. Probably doing deep research! He doesn’t always tell us. Doctor Sinclair doesn’t even know where he is. Have you spoken to her yet?
Juni: No…?
Vance: Well, there’s your answer then. She knows just as much about their work as Quintaine, maybe even more. She’s been doing field work for the Professor for years.
Juni: Has she? Do you think she’d mind if we looked her up?
Vance: No. Funding is what these scientists live for. Well, that and a… little recognition, of course.
Juni: Of course! Can you tell us where Doctor Sinclair is now?
Vance: Sprague in Tau-29! I’m afraid I can’t get her a message, though. It’s too far out.
Juni: That’s all right. We’ll go to her! You’ve been very helpful, Mr Vance. Thank you.
Vance: Ah, I think Doctor Sinclair will be quite pleased. Last week, nothing. This week, you and the Rheinlanders.
Trent: What Rheinlanders?
Vance: From the New Berlin Museum. They’re also very interested in their work. You just missed them.
Trent: Uh oh!
Juni: We gotta move! Get whatever you need here on Cambridge and meet me in space. Don’t take too long… Doctor!
Trent: I won’t!
Vance: Hmph, academics!
Planet Cambridge Orbit
Juni: Took you long enough! We don’t have any time to waste, let’s go. These Rheinlanders could have left hours ago. We have to get to Sinclair before they do. I checked the star chart. Sprague is a remote planet in the Omega-3 system. It’s not too far from here. Maybe this Doctor Sinclair is all we need to find out more about our artefact.
Norfolk: Incoming ships, this is the Norfolk. Your trajectory indicates that you are travelling to the Omega systems. Be advised that tensions between the Bretonian Empire and Rheinland have escalated. A military confrontation cannot be ruled out.
Juni: Roger, Norfolk! Our destination is Sprague in Omega-3. We have no intention to enter Rheinland territory.
Norfolk: Understood! We have no reports of Rheinland activity in that system. Norfolk out.
Juni: Hold on, we’ll take this trade lane. You lead, Trent.
Juni: This entire conflict with Rheinland is about the damn alien artefacts. Did you hear that President Jacobi is now trying to persuade the Queen to ban all artefacts here in Bretonia? I’m sure she has her reasons…
Juni: There’s the jump-gate. You first, Trent.
Omega-3 System, Border Worlds
Juni: The star chart describes Sprague as an unpopulated planet with no trade lane connections. We’ll have to fly from here to Freeport 1 and then through open space.
Juni: This is where we have to leave the trade lane.
Freeport 1: Incoming ships! Be advised: Rheinland forces have set up blockades in Omega-7. No ships are allowed access to Rheinland space. All merchant vessels are to remain at Freeport 1 until the crisis is over.
Juni: Freeport 1, we’re on our way to Sprague to bring supplies to an archaeological expedition. Have you detected any Rheinland ships in the area?
Freeport 1: Negative. But Sprague lies beyond our patrol routes – if you are attacked, we won’t be able to send help.
Juni: Understood. Thanks for the warning. Trent, I’ve uploaded the co-ordinates to Sprague into your Neural Net. Come on.
Juni: The situation is really getting out of control now. A blockade in Omega-7? Rheinland is now in direct violation of the Boorman Treaty. The colonies haven’t been this close to an open military conflict since the 80-Year War between Rheinland and the GMG. Vance gave me the frequency of the dig site beacon. I’m not picking up a signal yet – we probably have to get closer.
Juni: Almost there. Still no signal.
Juni: We made it! You dock first, Trent.
More Rhinelanders!
Juni: Rheinland ships! Where did they come from? Break and attack!
Juni: Last one! We have to head down to the planet and get Sinclair the hell out of here. I hope we’re not too late! You first, Trent! We have to hurry! I have a bad feeling that there are more of the out there somewhere.
Planet Sprague, Omega-3 System
Juni: Those ships came out of nowhere! Looked like some kind of cloaking technology. Not even the Liberty Navy has ever managed to get those to work! The dig site isn’t on any of the charts. We’ll have to search for it.
Trent: Let’s hope it’s still there and that these Rheinlanders didn’t find it already.
Juni: I’m getting a faint signal. It must be the dig site. Hold on… Yes, I think that’s it! Looks like they had to excavate inside this rock formation to get to the dig site!
Planet Sprague, Omega-3 System
Juni: Activating landing sequence. This must be the entrance – I’m going in.
Trent: No lights. No radio contact… this doesn’t feel right.
Juni: Let’s hope for the best! Maybe they’re all digging for artefacts and don’t even know we’re coming.
Juni: Do you think we are too late?
Trent: We have to find Sinclair and get the hell out of here!
Sinclair: And you say you got this where, exactly?
Juni: A thief… in Manhattan. He was killed because of it. Now the same people are after us. We were told you could help.
Sinclair: Look around you, Miss Zane. You are standing in the living history of the Daam-K’Vosh. A race that predates early man by over 10 million years!
Dr Sinclair, Trent and Juni at the archaeological dig on Sprague.
Sinclair: Up until recently, relatively speaking, they were the inhabitants of much of our new home here in Sirius. I’ve been working for years to piece together fragments of their past: their culture, technology, language – anything! These panels here have been the core of my research. They’ve shed light on some of their writings, but thanks to this piece, I’m close to unlocking their code. Yes, I know quite a lot about this artefact, but not why anyone would want to kill for it.
Trent: Know anything about cloaking Rheinland ships?
Sinclair: Mr Trent, I am a scientist. I deal in facts, not fiction.
Trent: Well you better listed to the facts. A lot of people have died because of this trinket. There’s something going on in the colonies. People are being killed. Others have disappeared, like your colleague, Doctor Quintaine.
Sinclair: Quintaine hasn’t disappeared – he’s a recluse.
Trent: He’s gone under, that’s what I think. And a man like him only goes under for a very good reason. I think he knew too much.
Sinclair: This is ridiculous!
Juni: Is it? We find out that Rheinland has an active interest in your research and when we get here, we’re attacked by Rheinland ships using a technology I have never seen before. Still not enough of a connection for you? How about that friends of mine – trusted people in the Liberty military assigned to stop illegal artefact smuggling are gone – like they were never there! Maybe they knew too much, too. They just didn’t see it coming like Quintaine. Well, I do, and you should, too.
Trent: And with him gone, that only leaves you!
Juni: I figure those ships are coming back here soon and there’s no telling what else they’re bringing with them. You, Doctor, can either be a live scientist on the run or a dead one in the ground! Which will it be?
Sinclair: I’m not leaving without my work! Besides, how do I know you aren’t the enemy?
Assistant: Doctor, we’ve got over a dozen ships on our screen. I don’t know what kind. We didn’t see them coming.
Juni: I told you they were coming back!
Sinclair: Pack up what you can and send the others to the ships!
Assistant Yes, Doctor.
Sinclair: All right, I’m with you!
Trent: Come on, we’ve got to go!
Assistant: Doctor, the panels have been loaded into Mr Trent’s hold.
Sinclair: Good! Get clear while you can.
Trent: They’ll tear this place apart!
Juni: Come on!
Too late!
Trent: This is gonna be close…
Planet Sprague Orbit
Sinclair: Oh my– they destroyed our base! My work!
Juni: They blew up the docking ring!
Trent: Never mind that! We’re outnumbered! We’ve got to get out of here!
Juni: Where?
Sinclair: Into the nebula! There’s a place we can hide, I’m uploading the co-ordinates!
Juni: Quickly people! Let’s move out!
Juni: We’re almost there! Just a few more seconds! We’ll lose them in the nebula! We made it! Hold on, checking radar. Clear! No sign of them. Doctor, where are we going?
Sinclair: Baxter Research Station. It’s been abandoned for over a decade, but life support should still be functioning. You weren’t joking when you told me about ships appearing out of nowhere! Thank you for getting me out of there!
Juni: You’re welcome.
Sinclair: This is it. We should land here. Keep your eyes open. They can’t be that far off.
Baxter Research Station
Trent: I think we’ve managed to shake them for now.
Juni: I hope you’re right.
Sinclair: Do you ever get tired of this?
Trent: The running and fighting?
Sinclair: No, this!
Trent: To tell you the truth, I don’t even pay attention any more.
Sinclair: It’s a view like this that got me into Xeno-Archeology in the first place. I thought: if the universe exists for eons, but I could only experience it for a brief moment of time, I wondered what a more ancient race must have thought of it? I wanted to live through them. If you’re right and Quintaine has hidden himself, that means he’s still out there somewhere. What’s that?
Juni, Trent and Dr Sinclair on Baxter Research Station
Juni: They found us! We’ve got to get out of here!
Sinclair: Where? Where are we going?
Trent: To Leeds! I have a friend there. Come on!
Juni: We can’t outrun them this time. Trent, engage!
Juni: Radar is clear, nice fighting! But I’m sure they’ll be more. We have to get to Trent’s friend in Leeds. I’m sure the jump-gate is being watched. Sinclair, what’s your status? Any ideas how to get out of here?
Sinclair: I’m okay. There’s a jump-hole to Cambridge nearby. That’s our best shot. From there, it should be easy to get to Leeds.
Juni: Okay, let’s go!
Sinclair: So, tell me, why did you come here? Surely not just to return the artefact to me?
Juni: Doctor, ever since Trent came in possession of the artefact, we’ve been hunted: first by the Liberty Navy, then bounty hunters, now Rheinlanders. Everybody seems to be after it – and we don’t even know what it is. A friend told us that Professor Quintaine might be able to shed some light on this.
Sinclair: And Quintaine has disappeared?
Juni: His lab was destroyed. The only lead we could find was your pilot Vance. He told us where to find you.
Sinclair: There’s the jump-hole.
Juni: Trent, you go first.
Cambridge System, Bretonia
Sinclair: We have to head to New London and from there to Leeds. I doubt the Rheinlanders will look for us here, but we need to stay sharp.
Juni: Trent, take the lead. Head for the new co-ordinates. We need to know what’s going on with this artefact. Why everyone is after it.
Sinclair: No idea. I found it on planet Pygar and knew immediately that it was of great archaeological significance. I was scheduled to fly to Cambridge to get Professor Quintaine’s expert opinion… but then the artefact was stolen and I didn’t even go to Cambridge. I actually haven’t seen the professor in years.
Juni: Damn! I suppose the best thing we can do is to fly to Leeds and regroup.
Juni: Damn it! They found us! Trent, engage.
Rheinlander: Stop! Do not open fire! We mean you no harm. We’re here to warn you.
Juni: Why should we trust you?
Rheinlander: Because we have deserted from Rheinland! Our squadron opened fire on us after we disobeyed orders to destroy a civilian transport. We had no choice but to flee. The Rheinland Military is watching all exits out of this system. You have an artefact they want, and they know that you’re here in Cambridge.
Juni: Why are you telling us this?
Rheinlander: Survival. We need you as much as you need us. We’re heading to a jump-hole that will take us directly to Leeds. It will be watched, but they aren’t guarding it well because very few people know about it. Together, we might be able to fight our way through.
Sinclair: I believe them.
Juni: Fine. We’re coming with you.
Rheinlander: Follow us! We’re uploading the co-ordinates.
Sinclair: What’s the plan?
Rheinlander: Our wing was outfitted with cloaking devices – strange looking things, they’re part of a secret Rheinland weapons program. We’ll cloak ourselves before we reach the jump-hole. They will think that you’re an easy target, but we’ll give them a little surprise.
Juni: Damn it. The jump-hole is blocked by a battleship! What are we gonna do?
Rheinlander: We’ll take care of the battleship. Maintain radio silence.
Wotan: Commander Zane, Mr Trent, we’ve been looking for you. Hand over the artefact and we will spare your life. Have it your way! All fighter wings, engage. Target their engines–
Rhineland Battleship Wotan
Wotan: It’s a trap! Incoming torpedoes, evasive manoeuvres! We’re hit! All hands, abandon ship. Repeat– Ahhhhhhhhh!
Rheinlander: We have to destroy the remaining fighters! Break and attack!
Rheinlander: That was it! Let’s get out of here. Mr Trent, you go first.
Leeds System, Bretonia
Juni: We made it! Thank you for your help.
Rheinlander: You’re welcome… but this isn’t the end of it. Something has happened in Rheinland and I’m afraid the worst is yet to come. We’ll fly to the Norfolk and give ourselves up. Hopefully, someone in the Bretonia military will believe our story. Good luck to you.
Juni: The trade lane to Leeds is near. We should go.
Sinclair: Who are we meeting on Leeds?
Juni: An old friend of Trent’s. This will be interesting…
Juni: Take the trade lane. We’re almost there.
Sinclair: I can’t believe we made it through all of this. Thank you.
Juni: Don’t mention it. Land on Leeds, we’ll meet in the Equipment Room.
Planet Leeds Equipment Room
Trent and Tobias
Tobias: <gasp> Trent, where have you been? I’ve been worried about you! But I see you’ve been in good company!
Trent: Juni, meet Tobias.
Tobias: Richard Winston Tobias, Esquire, dear Lady.
Trent: Tobias, sort of… uh, raised me.
Juni: And from such humble beginnings… your head grew to its present size?
Sinclair: We’re all clear! Nobody followed us.
Trent: Good.
Tobias: And who do we have here? Another girl? <laughs> Tell me, boy, what have you been doing?
Trent: Tobias, we need a safe place to lay low for a while.
Juni: Doctor, can you decipher the writing on the artefact?
Sinclair: I can do most of it, but not alone. I need Quintaine.
Trent: Damn.
Juni: Like it or not, Trent. If we’re gonna get some answers, I think we’ll have to find Quintaine.
Trent: I knew you were going to say that.
Juni: Look, this may take some time. Sinclair will do everything she can on her work and I will dig around for any leads on Quintaine. You try to scare up some business, we could probably use the credits. Anyway, I can’t have you lounge around here like a big ox waiting for things to happen. What?
Tobias: I can’t remember when I ever saw such a vision of loveliness.
Juni: Oh, brother!

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